From: nicola taylor <email@example.com> Subject: [OPE-L:6047] Re: Palestinian staged footage? Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com a cynical manipulation of 'truth' is worse than using old footage comradely Nicky ----------------------------------- Nicky, i just want to add that my palestinian friend could not be more upset about the horrifying acts of al Qaeda. for example, she recently sent me this post: despite bin laden's efforts to drive the last nail in the coffin of palestine, i still foolishly think it worthwhile to be informed so i am sending you a short fact sheet that can be found also on the al-awda.org website. you may find yourselves in conversations where some of these details might be handy. much love, XXXXXXX(i deleted her name) The Right of Return, a Basic Right Still Denied During and after the establishment of the state of Israel, almost 800,000 Palestinian refugees were created by a process that today would be called ethnic cleansing. These refugees and their descendants are the largest and most persistent refugee problem in the world with over 3.7 million registered by the United Nations and about 2 million others not registered but living in countries and regions sometimes within a very short distance of their original homes and lands. The international community, which recommended the partition of Palestine, felt a deep sense of responsibility for this tragedy. Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN Mediator stated: "It would be an offence against the principles of elemental justice if these innocent victims of the conflict were denied the right to return to their homes, while Jewish immigrants flow into Palestine" (UN Doc Al 648, 1948). This remains true today as any person with a Jewish religion can gain automatic citizenship while Palestinians born in Palestine/Israel cannot return to their homeland. The Right of Return has a solid legal basis. The United Nations adopted Resolution 194 on December 11, 1948. Paragraph 11 states: "...the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date... compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return." Resolution 194 was affirmed practically every year since with a universal consensus, except for Israel and the U.S. This resolution is further clarified by UN General Assembly Resolution 3236 which reaffirms in Subsection 2, "the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return". Hindering return is an act of aggression which deserves condemnation and/or action by the Security Council. Liability for consequences of violation remains with Israel. UN partition resolution 181 and Israel's later admission to the UN were conditional on acceptance of relevant UN resolutions including 194. The Right of Return does not derive its validity merely from UN Resolutions. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 13 reaffirms the right of every individual to leave and return to his country. Moreover, the Principle of Self Determination guarantees, inter alia, the right of ownership and domicile in one's own country. This principle was adopted by the UN in 1947. In 1969 and thereafter, it was explicitly applied to the Palestinian People, including "the legality of the Peoples' struggle for Self-Determination and liberation", (GAOR 2535 (xxiv), 2628 (xxv), 2672 (xxv), 2792 (xxvi)). International law demands that neither occupation nor sovereignty diminish the rights of private ownership. When the Ottomans surrendered in 1920, Palestinian ownership of the land was maintained. The land and property of "the refugees" remains their own and they are entitled to return to it. Research not only shows that the right of the refugees is sacred and legal but also possible (i.e. it is a myth that Israelis would have to be displaced to allow for the return of the refugees). A study on the demography of Israel shows that 78% of Israelis are living in 14 percent of Israel and that the remaining 86% of the land in Israel is mostly land that belongs to the refugees on which 22% of the Israelis live. However, 20% live in city centers, which are mostly Palestinian such as, Beer Al Saba', Ashdod, Majdal, Asqalan, Nazareth, Haifa, Acre, Tiberias and Safad. As for the remaining 20%, they live in kibbutzes and moshavs. They control the legacy and heritage of five million Palestinian refugees. Is there any logic to having 2,400 refugees on one square kilometer in the Gaza Strip while any one of them could look over the barbed wire and see his land practically empty? If Gaza refugees returned to their homes in southern Palestine, no more than five percent of Jews in the center would be affected. If the refugees of Lebanon returned to their homes in the Galilee no more than one percent of Jews in the center would be affected. The total number of refugees from Gaza and Lebanon equals the number of Russian immigrants who came to Israel in the '90s to live in the homes of these refugees. What right brings in Russian Jews and what kind of peace deprives Palestinian refugees the right to return home? According to a report by Amnesty International last December, 2650 Palestinian houses have been destroyed since 1987 by Israel in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, on the pretext of not having building permission. Further thousands of acres owned by Palestinians have been confiscated to build settlements in the occupied territories in contraventions to the 4th Geneva convention Article 49 stating that the "Occupying Power shall not transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." The AI report is available at: http://www.web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/index/MDE150591999 The inalienable rights of refugees cannot be left to "negotiations" between Israel and the Palestinian authority. International law considers agreements between an occupier and any body in occupied areas to be null and void if they deprive civilians of recognized human rights including the rights to repatriation and restitution. No peace will be durable without solving the refugee situation regardless of agreements signed between a strong party (Israel) and a weak and unrepresentative one (Yasser Arafat). The US is bound by its constitution to support human rights and freedom. There is no more elemental right than one's right to his/her home and to live in his/her land. The US could use the massive financial support we give to the State of Israel to press for this right.
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